A Scottish central midfielder, with blonde hair and pale skin, playing for Manchester United after graduating from the clubs youth academy. Today, that sentence would clearly describe Scott McTominay, the youngster who has recently broken into the United first team. However, those same traits applied to a different player a half decade ago, with that man being Darren Fletcher. Nowadays, it is becoming increasingly apparent that Scott McTominay has become Old Trafford’s modern day Darren Fletcher, both on and off the pitch.
Darren Fletcher was a reliable figure for Sir Alex throughout his United tenure, especially in the biggest matchups. The Scot was never the star name, often overshadowed by the likes of Rooney and Scholes, but did whatever job was asked of him. He was a natural central midfielder, but found himself filling a gap on the wing whenever need be. Fletcher made an impact when given the chance, with countless stellar performances against the world’s elite clubs. His best performances came when he was allowed to play in his preferred role, coming in when the starter was unavailable. He was not the best playmaker, but made up for with an exceptional work rate. This lead to Fletcher becoming quite the leader on the pitch, rallying the team around him. He still had a knack for goal, however, once scoring a brace against rivals Manchester City.
Scott McTominay has proven that he has the ability to come into a big game when needed as well. He was given the start against Sevilla under controversial circumstances, coming into the team ahead of Paul Pogba. However, he proved the decision was justified by the end of the night. The youngster brought stability to the United midfield, which was especially needed once Ander Herrera came off injured. It was a professional performance from McTominay, who kept the ball well without making any silly mistakes. As a result, Mourinho put his trust in the youth academy product once again when United hosted Chelsea on Sunday. It was a poor start, as McTominay lost Willian on the opening goal. Most youngsters would let that mistake get to their head and kill their confidence. However, the Scotsman got back into the game, and played a key role in United’s comeback victory. McTominay was almost man-marking Eden Hazard at times, following the Belgian across the pitch when need be. The Chelsea man never looked dangerous, and was eventually subbed off. From that point on, McTominay was able to help the defence keep Chelsea at bay, securing the 2-1 scoreline. Now, it seems the young midfielder has earned the trust of Mourinho, and the trust of the United faithful.
Players like McTominay and Fletcher are always needed in big clubs. They might not be consistent match winners, or star names, but they serve a much need purpose. Injuries happen, and plenty of depth is needed if teams hope to compete in multiple competitions. These players have no ego, and don’t command a high weekly wage. They are incredibly beneficial to any locker room, especially one that has to deal with an immense amount of pressure. Both Fletcher and McTominay lead quiet lives off the pitch, preventing any outside distractions from affecting the team.
Of course, there are still enough differences to separate the players. McTominay is much taller, with his length allowing him to be better defensively. Fletcher, on the other hand, made most of his impact in the opposing team’s side of the field, pitching in with goals and assists whenever possible. Fletcher was a bit quicker with his feet, while McTominay uses his long legs to get up and down the pitch in a few strides.
However, it still seems like Scott McTominay is well on his way to becoming Manchester United’s present day version of Darren Fletcher.